Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolve To Be A Took...A Thought For The New Year

“Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

I am so much more a Baggins' than a Took.  And if you don't know what I'm talking about, well, all I can say is sit yourself down with the Hobbit (first the book, then the movie), because J.R.R. Tolkien's imagination will take your breath away.  But for the un-Tolkiened among us, a bit of an explanation:  Bilbo Baggins, a fine and sensible Hobbit, comes from a fine and sensible line of Baggins'.  Safe folk, who smoke pipes by the fire and enjoy their books and their gardens and their quiet, predictable lives.  But Bilbo has the blood of the Took's running through his veins as well.  Took's... who love adventure, risk and all that requires a noble courage.

Oh, how I wish I were a Took by nature!  It all calls to me...the wonder, the unknown, the life given away for something greater.  Alas, I am no Took.  Left to my own devises I would revel in a comfortable, untroubled life, without trials, without temptations to evil, without the blunt trauma of life on planet earth.  Thank God, He has not left me to my own devises.

Three years ago my husband and daughter barely survived the hellish nightmare of being slammed into head-on by a drunk driver.  My Hercules was only allowed to come home after 6 weeks under the condition that there would be someone there who could clean wounds, give injections and move a non ambulatory patient.  That someone would be ME.   At that time I borrowed a slogan and mixed it up a bit: "Some people are born nurses, some achieve nursing, and some have nursing thrust upon them."  You know where this is going.  I was not among the heroic first two.

It's the same with being "Tookish".  Some are born that way, some achieve it, and some have it thrust upon them.  I am ever grateful that I've been forced out of my Baggins ways.  But I have every propensity to shrink back.  Thank God His grace is so big, and that He doesn't answer all our prayers for comfort and ease.  Otherwise we would never scale a mountain of fear, never overcome a bitter heart, never find that we are more than flesh and blood. We'd fall in love with the worthless and never find the precious. I'm guessing the few who might read this have experienced their share of heartache and loss and disaster and pain.  Oh, Courage! Carry on, my friends, and give thanks that your life has not followed your plan.  Broken marriages, cancer, children dying, bankruptcy, car accidents, wrecked relationships, loneliness, addiction, disappointment, aging, unanswered prayers, and the whole, sweeping mess of sorrows and sicknesses were never God's plan.  The cost of free will is so very high...but the Great One takes all these broken consequences of The Fall to make stout-hearted Tooks out of us.  People who would stand by His side and fight for light in the darkness.  He Himself did not shirk the dark, but took on human flesh and became the ultimate Took.  He exchanged the earthly walking stick, that beautiful God/Man of peace, and took up the sword when He demolished death and sent hell scrambling forever by His own bloody sacrificial death.  Now, it's just a guerrilla war.  God has won.  But it will require a noble courage to beat off the darkness of a defeated foe whose days are most certainly numbered.

Lest all this sound dreary and dispiriting, keep in mind the cheer and contentment of ascending to the heights after a daunting climb! Not to mention that the fire and the book are part of life too!  Oh friends, as we tumble into a new year, let's forget what is behind and lay hold of what's ahead.  In the small, in the everyday, in our ordinary lives, in our trouble.. we can fight for light.  The real battle happens one day at a time; real courage shows itself strong in the endurance of one-foot-in-front-of-the-other.  Once again Tolkien says it so well:

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Gandalf”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

This new year, this gift, will most certainly challenge us with trials and testings.  After all, Jesus said it Himself:

"In this world you will have trouble.  But take courage, I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

Take courage friends.  Do the next small, right thing.  Be a Took.  Even if it's thrust upon you.  And have a Happy New Year!

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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